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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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September 08, 2017

Little Leafy’s Keto Diet Success Story

By Guest
40 Comments

It’s Friday, everyone! And that means another Primal Blueprint Real Life Story from a Mark’s Daily Apple reader. If you have your own success story and would like to share it with me and the Mark’s Daily Apple community please contact me here. I’ll continue to publish these each Friday as long as they keep coming in. Thank you for reading!

When our baby daughter, Leafy, suffered a frightening seizure at home we had no idea what was to come.

When more seizures followed a pattern emerged; blue lights to hospital, assessments, nights in hospital wards, medical tests, fear and exhaustion.

Despite the frightening length and regularity these incidents were diagnosed as Febrile Seizures, caused by temperature spikes from ill health.

We carried on as best we could, juggling caring for our 2-year-old son whilst trying to manage Leafy’s reoccurring long-lasting seizures.

As time went on she endured many more seizures. Her worst time was when chicken pox was shared around locally and she caught the infection. Leafy suffered seizure after seizure in 30-degree heat while covered in hundreds of itchy, angry pox marks. It was a real low for us all. We watched her small body struggle so much and were not able to help her.

Finding Keto

Screen Shot 2017-09-08 at 9.07.33 AMSomething was clearly not right, so we started researching. We read late into the nights, on the triggers, the seizure syndromes and the treatments and eventually found the Ketogenic diet.

The possibility of an evidence based diet that is effective in controlling seizures through food alone seemed golden! We read up on everything we could on following a keto diet, learning the practicalities of how to follow the diet, the potential side effects and how to sensibly mitigate those.

Starting Keto

When Leafy was diagnosed with epilepsy, aged 2, we took the decision to start her on the Ketogenic diet straight away. Food before medication.

Cropped_Leafie _ Leafy with keto Pizza IMG_0245Within days the diet began to have a hugely positive impact. Her shortest seizures, she was having up to 60 per day, stopped and have not returned. Her longer seizures reduced in length and frequency from 3 per week to fortnightly, and continued to reduce.

Along with dramatic seizure reduction Leafy’s sleep improved, she was brighter, less distressed and wobbly on her feet. We were getting our daughter back again!

Leafy’s Modified Keto Diet

We opted for the Modified KD. It has a lower fat to carbohydrate ratio than Classic KD. With MKD Leafy eats a wide range of low carbohydrate vegetables with moderate protein and liquids and still a good portion of healthy fats.

Resized_Leafie_ lasagne2IMG_0095

Medical KD often relies on formula foods and highly refined oils. We opted for good quality nutrient dense whole foods. To optimize her nutrient intake carbohydrates are from low starch vegetables and salads, and her wide range of good fats are from animal sources, nuts and seeds.

Resized_Leafie keto chocolates_0093

Her typical favourite meals include paleo muesli, almond orange cake, cheese and salmon omelette, aubergine pizza and raspberry ripple ice-cream.

My Nutrition Work – Leafie.com

The healthier Leafy became through diet and the more I learned about our bodies’ need for healthy fats and whole foods, the more concerned I became with how crazy mainstream foods and diets are.

I have retrained as a Nutrition Advisor and now support other families to rebalance their foods and take their health back into their own hands.

Leafie is named after my happy, vibrant daughter and reflects my passion for sharing what I have learned.

I’m also mad about good fats and taking on the saturated fat myths. I now supply fantastic quality tallow culinary and skincare products—Goodfats.

Resized_Leafie_Leafy and mama

Marks Daily Apple

I was so inspired to find Mark’s blog. I admire the work he is doing to shatter the prevailing food myths and to bring whole food into the primal low carb movement.

Feature_Leafie_Family BigWheel Leicester

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40 Comments on "Little Leafy’s Keto Diet Success Story"

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Priya
Priya
15 days 23 hours ago

Way to go leafy?. You are in the good hands of your mom

NaturalGirl
NaturalGirl
15 days 18 hours ago

Yes, way to go Leafy! What a beautiful and inspiring story. And your mom is an amazing woman!

Leafy\'s mama Claire
14 days 6 hours ago

Wow, Thanks for your lovely NaturalGirl!!

Claire xx

Leafy\'s mama Claire
14 days 6 hours ago

Thanks Priya! I’d love all of our children to be access nutrient dense wholefoods, before symptoms and ill health result.. I have been working on tackling food and health inequalities in deprived areas. There is so much more to be done!

So glad to be part of Mark’s community on here, spreading the wellness messages further and further.

Claire x

Ant
Ant
15 days 23 hours ago

Cheered me up. Good work!

Leafy\'s mama Claire
14 days 6 hours ago

Thanks Ant! The comments on here are lovely and have made my day! Cx

Elizabeth Resnick
15 days 23 hours ago

This is so inspiring! Leafy has a much higher quality of life thanks to the persistence of her parents. Love stuff like this! I’ve seen some of the medical keto menus for epilepsy patients and they are always loaded with processed crap. So wonderful to see how she is eating whole, nutrient dense foods, which the whole family can benefit from. True success story!

Leafy\'s mama Claire
14 days 6 hours ago

Thank you so much Elizabeth,
Yes, now when I see the mainstream lunches and snacks that other children have I know that our children are the lucky ones! There are drastic changes needed in children’s diets, what is advertised and sold to them. Im so glad to be in a proactive community that gets this..

BW, Claire x

Beth
Beth
15 days 23 hours ago

Thank you for showing what keto can do for children with epilepsy. It’s an amazing turn around. And congrats to you for becoming an advocate for not only your own, but other children as well.

Leafy\'s mama Claire
14 days 6 hours ago

Thank you very much Beth, it is truly amazing what can be acheived with food and so concerning that this is being overlooked by our Food Policy Makers and leading health charities too! BW, Claire

Hedgie
Hedgie
15 days 21 hours ago

best name ever.

Leafy\'s mama Claire
14 days 6 hours ago

Thank you!!!! We love it. Is yours Hedgie? Thats lovely too.. BW, Claire

EllaB
EllaB
15 days 21 hours ago

Can’t even imagine what you’ve been through…and very happy Leafy is doing great! I was wondering how to convince a child to eat something healthy instead of the unhealthy stuff. My daughter developed eczema that just wouldn’t go away and I put her on healthier diet, nothing crazy though, but she doesn’t eat, gives me really hard time and says I hurt her feelings with that food (she’s 4). ?

Jessica O\'Neill
15 days 21 hours ago

EllaB, stay strong. Remember that you are the Mom, and you are doing what’s best for her. It can take some time for kids to readjust their tastebuds to new/healthy foods stick with it and keep encouraging her to ‘try 3 bites’ of everything. Eventually she will thank you…like 30 years from now….

EllaB
EllaB
15 days 18 hours ago

It’s like power games now, I must be strong and consistent. Thank you, Jessica!

2Rae
2Rae
15 days 17 hours ago

I remember that age, fussy eater boy, I would say “well, that’s what we have for dinner/breakfast/lunch” and then just carry on, letting him know that he likes it and he has to eat 3 bites. Usually he’d “not like it” until after the 3 bites and then it was gone. Sigh, he’s still picky but so am I so I’m getting what’s mine I guess…… Hated food when I was little too.

Leafy\'s mama Claire
14 days 6 hours ago
Hi EllaB, I agree with the comments with great suggestions here. I’d also add that you could start with swaps and upgrades. Replacing the worst foods that she likes with better healthier ones initially, like replacing sauces full of sugar, or sugar syrups and transfats with a naturally free from and sugar free brand. Replace her nuggets with flax coated homemade ones but keeping her other go to foods. Keep trying and celebrate the small wins. Try not to make it a big deal, but have other foods and sauces for her to try on the table at meal times.… Read more »
Cathy
Cathy
15 days 21 hours ago
This is utterly amazing. I am so glad that you took your own and your daughter’s health into your hands. Also, how good that you realized what the medicinal KD was and crafted your own. She is beautiful. EllaB, don’t lose heart. Give her things that most kids like, such as chicken and CHEESE on just about everything! That’s a good way for kids to like veggies, put some cheese on them. Otherwise, let her “help” you prepare food. Kids are very proud and usually try a bit of what they helped prepare.
Leafy\'s mama Claire
14 days 6 hours ago

Ace suggestions. Thank you for your kind comments too! Claire x

Karen
Karen
15 days 16 hours ago

Thanks for sharing your experience. I’d like to make the orange cake. Would love the recipe.

Leafy\'s mama Claire
14 days 6 hours ago

Hi Karen – Thanks for your comment. Here is a link to the recipe that you wanted to try, I hope that you enjoy it!! Kind regards, Claire
https://leafie.com/eczema/keto-orange-and-almond-cake

Leafy\'s mama Claire
14 days 6 hours ago

Hi Karen,

Thanks for your comment. This Keto Orange and Almond Cake Recipe now appears first in my blog, with a pic of Leafy helping to prepare the cupcakes!

I don’t think that I am able to share the link here, so you will have to follow the Leafie link from the main article above.

Kind wishes, Claire

Karen
Karen
11 days 12 hours ago

Got it thank you! Food grade Essential oils in food. That’s new to me. I’ll try it.

Is almond essential oil just almond oil?

Amber
Amber
15 days 15 hours ago

Woop woop!!! I found Keto because a friend got involved in Prüvit and i tried exogenous ketones for the first time a year ago… my life will never be the same! So happy for you all!!!!! I have also overcome so many aspects of my illness and can now choose how i feel, day to day!!!!

Leafy\'s mama Claire
14 days 6 hours ago

Hi Amber, Im pleased that keto works so well for you! I however avoid supplements and steer clear of the keto marketing products like my life depends on it… and it does.

keep up the good work.

Kind wishes, Claire

Dana Leigh Lyons
15 days 1 hour ago

Beautiful success story, Claire & Leafy! Such a gift when parents embrace food as a way to help kids heal and thrive!

Leafy\'s mama Claire
14 days 6 hours ago

Thank you Dana, it shows that there is hope for a wide range of conditions and symptoms and just for all of us in optimising our own health. Best wishes, Claire

Jeb
Jeb
14 days 21 hours ago

Right on! Ever seen the sci-fi movie “Knowing?” Certain kids, only the specifically “receptive” ones, are picked by aliens to be the survivors of the human race on a new planet because Earth will be destroyed by some kind of sun explosion. Paleo kids will be the new generation of healthy human survivors right here on Earth!

Leafy\'s mama Claire
14 days 6 hours ago

Hah! Crazy guy!!

Dave
Dave
14 days 20 hours ago

What about the rest of us

Dave
Dave
14 days 20 hours ago

Sorry, hit send too fast.
I was going to comment about how Leafy’s experience might say something about the rest of us in less extreme circumstances. I’m reminded of Dave Permutter’s observation about celiac disease and it’s definition. It turns out that many of his patients suffer gluten sensitivities, but not to the extent to be diagnosed as celiac.

Perhaps many of us suffer to a much lesser extent than Leafy, perhaps just brain fog, minor coordination issues, or other “more minor” symptoms. What would we have to loose to adopt or at least test the keto diet?

Leafy\'s mama Claire
14 days 6 hours ago
Hi Dave, good points. With most of us the symptoms might be minor initially and difficult to link up or trace the cause. My initial passion with healing is the gut healing discipline, which can be combined with paleo or keto disciplines quite well. Gut healing diets such as GAPS or WA Price protocols have amazing results for many autoimmune, skin, digestive conditions. What you need to lose..If you mean in terms of foods I’d say it is more a case of what you need to add. FATS and healthy diverse ones. I am a big fan of tallow as… Read more »
candace hengel
14 days 19 hours ago

Have you looled into keto benefits for highly autistic children? and if so, could you help me find the information?

Leafy\'s mama Claire
14 days 6 hours ago

There are studies that indicate that a keto diet can be beneficial for autism, although too small research numbers prevent these studies from being conclusive it is hopeful. I would advocate a gut microbiome enhancing diet, with primal or keto, for the most impact. Research GAPS diets and uses to use incombination with low carb primal or keto.

I hope that this is useful. Best wishes, Claire

Leafy\'s mama Claire
14 days 6 hours ago

Hello, thank you for such positive comments. It is great to be part of such an enlightened foodie community.

I have shared our story to hopefully inspire others to take full control of their own health! Claire x

Leafy\'s mama Claire
14 days 6 hours ago

A commenter asked for Leafy’s favourite Keto Orange Cake Recipe – it is a little long t paste here, so here is the link. I hope that you enjoy it too! https://leafie.com/eczema/keto-orange-and-almond-cake

Jennifer L.
Jennifer L.
12 days 17 hours ago

Do you think it would be possible to do keto for children with absolutely no nuts? Just lower carbohydrate vegetables, meats, eggs, seeds possibly, and fruit? It sounds really limited!

Leafy\'s mama Claire
12 days 3 hours ago

Hi Jennifer, yes I do think it would be possible to eat keto or very low carb with limited or nut free. There are so many low starch veggie options and well sourced fats deliver good range of nutrients. If you plan a meal or snack in this style take a look at how if looks compared to a conventional child’s meal or snack. i would suggest that this style of eat would still deliver more variety and quantitiy of minerals, vits and nutrients x

Justin
11 days 7 hours ago

For more on Leafy’s story – check out this interview with Sally Gray at Real Healthy Kids https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Roqz7MypZa4

John Tod
10 days 20 hours ago
Strict keto diet also shows promise as a cancer cure. A strict keto diet is high in good fats, low in carbs, moderate on protein and the most important is absolutely no sugar, not even fruit because fruit contains natural sugars. What happens is the liver stops or greatly reduces the production of glucose. The liver turns to stored or digested good fat and starts producing ketones. Here is where the magic happens. Cancer cells cannot use ketones for fuel so without glucose they literally starve out of existence. Why is this not being used as a cancer cure? The… Read more »
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